Skeet was sentenced to time in a group home in Chino Hills, California, but he ran away not long after arriving. His last Facebook post was on November 26, 2012, Slater writes, and it includes “a sepia-toned photo of himself” with a gun in his right hand. The day before that, Skeet posted another picture “with a bottle of cognac and bottle of cough syrup. Got my syrup and Remy now it’s a good day,” it read.
Slater’s description of Skeet’s picture as “sepia-toned” has a connotation of warmth, yet there is nothing warm about it. However, Slater has already implied that photographs offer an incomplete picture, and this is no doubt the case with Skeet as well. While these pictures reflect the poor choices Skeet has made, they do not reflect the social injustices that have led to this behavior.
On January 7, 2013, Skeet was shot dead in Oakland at just seventeen years old. His murderer was also killed days later “in an outbreak of violence that left four people dead in one six-hour period.” Richard heard about his friend’s death while he was in Redding. When Jasmine told him, Richard immediately burst into tears. “He didn’t even hang up,” Slater writes. “Just put the phone down and walked away.”
Richard is clearly traumatized by Skeet’s murder, and it becomes yet another towering obstacle that he must overcome. Skeet’s death, in addition to the poverty and crime Richard is forced to deal with on a daily basis, makes it all the more difficult for him to achieve his goals of graduation and a law-abiding life.